On the 26th February 2014, the Department of Trade and Industry published the Removal of Adverse Consumer Information and Information Relating to Paid Up Judgements Regulations, 2014 ('the credit information amnesty').
As per the regulations, credit bureaus were required to remove the following information, held on the database as at 1 April 2014, from their records:
- All adverse credit information of consumer behaviour such as “delinquent”, “default,” and “slowing paying information.”
- All adverse credit information of enforcement action taken by the credit provider such as “handed over to collections” or “write-off.”
- All adverse credit information (as defined in a and b above) contained within the payment profile of a consumer.
Credit bureaus were further required to remove all paid up civil judgements where the consumer has settled the capital amount. This will happen on an on-going basis.
Consumers are reminded that they are still liable for their debt under this new regulation. The regulation required the removal of adverse information from the credit bureau records and does not mean that the consumer’s debt is erased. The regulations are in no way a debt pardon and consumers are urged to continue servicing all their debt obligations, as they remain liable for any outstanding debts.
Additionally, consumers should understand that their payment information and therefore, behaviour, remains on their credit record. These behavioural trends are also analysed by credit providers in assessing the extent to which they are willing to grant a consumer credit, based on the probability of poor repayment.
Under the new regulation, all paid up judgements are required to be removed from the credit bureau records on an on-going basis which gives consumers an incentive to pay off their debts. Under the new regulation, when a consumer has paid up their debt and proof of payment has been provided, the judgement will be removed within seven days after receiving the proof of payment from the Credit Provider. The consumer no longer needs to go through a court process.
For the on-going removal of paid up judgments effective from 1 June 2014, the process is as follows:
- Once the judgment has been paid up, the credit / service provider has an obligation to send confirmation thereof to the credit bureaus within 7 days;
- Thereafter the credit bureau will remove the judgment from its records within 7 days of such notification from the credit / service provider;
- Consumers may also contact the credit bureaus to provide proof of a judgment being paid up. To do so, a consumer will need to provide the credit bureau with a copy of their ID, proof of residence and a confirmation of proof of payment letter from the credit provider (“the confirmation letter”)
- The credit bureaus will send the confirmation letter to the credit / service provider for verification, where after, provided the confirmation letter is valid, the judgment will be removed from the consumer’s record;
- Within 3 days of the removal of the judgment from the consumer’s record, all credit bureaus will be advised of the removal after which they will also proceed with the removal;
Experian encourages consumers to take advantage of the free annual service provided by the credit bureaus as prescribed by the National Credit Act, which gives them the right to access their credit reports once a year at no cost.
Consumer dispute process
The National Credit Act (NCA) has prescribed a process for managing consumer disputes with a Credit Bureau. If you believe that the information on your Experian credit report is incorrect, please follow this 2-step process:
STEP 1: DO I HAVE A VALID DISPUTE?
A dispute is considered valid at point of communication from you personally to Experian by telephone, fax or e-mail based on the following criteria:
- The judgment, sequestration, administration order, default, account information does not belong to you/and or that you have never had dealings with the plaintiff/credit grantor.
- The payment profile/account history information has not been updated within the last 60 days.
The default data has been settled and not updated within 60 days.
An enquiry has been conducted on a credit report that is inaccurate and/or consent was not supplied. This piece of information will not be flagged; however, all other procedures will be followed.
The judgment, default, account information was listed as a result of fraudulent activity.
The judgment, sequestration, administration order, default, account information has exceeded its retention period.
You were not provided with the 20 day notice period for the listing of default information.
The default information is prescribed.
There is a duplicate listing of a judgment, sequestration, administration order, default, account information (or combination of above) for the same debt.
Other ad hoc, unfair circumstances have taken place that appear justified and require investigation.